Appraisal. Excellent for showing the homes and their construction, the crude agricultural methods, the wide reliance on fish and game for food, and the primitive household equipment of the New England settlement at Salem (1626-29). Should be useful in developing an understanding of (1) the hardships of colonial life, (2) the social organization of a colonial community, (3) the importance of religion in the life of the people, and (4) some of the motives which brought the colonists to the New World.
The film gives a great deal of attention to the common tasks of life. It should motivate further study.
Photography and sound are excellent.
Contents. Impressions of the life of the pioneer settlers in a New England colony.
Views of the New England coast are followed by a view of a bark wigwam at Naumkeag. The commentator explains that in 1626 the population of the community was about thirty. Robert Trent, a fisherman, has built a wigwam with the help of Albert Sims and Jason Conway. One of the men hangs up a bed and another prepares kindling wood for the fire. Near the Fox home, which is a dugout, Mr. Fox is hewing timber, Lucinda Fox is grinding Indian corn, and brother Oliver is milking the family goat.
Jason Conway calls at the Fox home to borrow a live ember to light his fire. When he enters the home, he inquires about Robert, the son who is sick. He speaks encouragingly to the sick boy. As the fireplace is shown, the commentator says that it doesn't give adequate heat, especially when there is sickness in the family.
There is a full schedule of work ahead for the day. Mr. Fox and Oliver leave for the fields. From their clearing on a ridge overlooking the sea they can see their neighbors, the fishermen, hauling in a plentiful catch. Their corn crop has begun to mature. After looking at the crop, they turn to clearing more land. Meanwhile, Jason Conway is repairing the roof of his wigwam, and Albert Sims is cutting his tobacco crop.
At the Fox home fish is being prepared for dinner. Lucinda cuts pitch-pine splints as substitutes for candles since tallow is scarce. When the family sits down for the evening meal, John Fox says a prayer.
By 1629 a number of craftsmen from England have joined the settlement. The commentator explains that the settlement is now called Salem. Sawyers cut boards for building houses. Shingles are split from logs. Bricks are made with crude tools. The blacksmith beats out nails, and carpenters build new cottages. There are views of the village street and of the stocks and pillory.
The older settlers help the newcomers get started. Mrs. Fox helps a recent arrival prepare a kettle of soap. John Fox instructs a man in the use of fish for fertilizer in the planting of corn.
Robert Trent is shown at work as the commentator says that many of the fish he catches and dries are now sent to England. Children dig clams. Views of ducks and turkeys suggest the reliance on wild game for food. A herb garden is shown, as the commentator says that herbs are used for medicinal purposes. Mistress Lane prepares a herb broth and takes it to the Perry home where Mistress Perry is ill. Harold Perry is at work on a letter to be sent to England. Several of his neighbors listen as he reads. He writes of the variety of motives that have brought men to the New World, and concludes, "We form one body politic, joined by common consent."
October 18, 2016 Subject:
Oh come on, did they REALLY talk like that??
In this 11 minute film, the life of a family just coming to America from England is explored. The narrator (who I easily remembered from "Birds") lacklusterly explains the tolls the family takes. That's fine, but got forbid if they ever spoke like that to one another. A two parter, the second part deals with living in 1629, life is a bit more advanced, with the introduction of bricks and better uses of wood.